Fantec TV-LHD Media Player – An alternative?

Fantec TV-LHD Player©

It seems that some manufacturer are going to launch new streaming-clients on the market. I think, to potential for the massmarket is only touching the tip of the iceberg! This time, the german Fantec GmbH (Hamburg) releases a new one: The Fantec TV-LHD Media Player! It plays films, music and videos via USB, an external hard drive (FAT32/NTFS) or, and that’s a big advantage over the WDTV, via network stream! All in FullHD (yes: 1080p MKV h.264!) and all over codecs included! Can this be a real WDTV alternative?

The specs are impressive and remind me of those from WD (the name: Fantec TV-LHD <– L for LAN, the rest is more or less all about the same, like power power consumption or the size), but he comes with LAN support and coaxial output! You can find the manual here, there are also screenshots included from the menues. Fantec’s TV-LHD is listed in Germany for approximately 133 Euro (e.g., the delivery is estimated for next week!

More highlights: Besides the normal standards (AVI, MPG,…) there is support for*, *.trp, *.ts, *.m3t, *.m3t, *.m2ts and *.ifo-files (!), VC-1, SUB (mit IDX), FLAC und M4A! The LHD uses a Sigma Design EM8623L Chip, which is installed in other players like the „HDTV-Praxis“ winner DVICO TViX-HD M-4100U. This means: no problem with 1080p/h.264/MKV (however: the LHD seems to have only 128MB SDRAM and 16MB ROM) and (probably) DTS downsampling included (Update 05/30/2009, thx to Björn). I can’t wait to see what time will bring! 🙂

The rear side:

Fantec TV-LHD Rückseite
Fantec TV-LHD© rear

Update 06/18/2009: Last week-end I had a look on this WDTV alternative. First impressions:

– menue is quite good, easy and fast!
– fast recognition of all my storage devices via LAN
– 1080p via LAN is impossible (stuttering, signal break off,…). From plugged-in devices (USB or HDD) there are a lot of problems (out of sync, sound juddering,…).
– 720p with little problems (LAN or HDD), some files are not working (too much reframes?)
– does not find all the video-content that the WDTV plays
– easy network configuration

Till now, it’s not perfect. Not bad for a new challenger, but WDTV performs better and can access via LAN with a custom firmware the same way. I probably wait a little bit, to see if Fantec provides a good FW support.

Conclusion until now: “For 720p ok. But I’m using a FullHD TV and that’s why I continue searching for other alternatives!”

6 Kommentare zu „Fantec TV-LHD Media Player – An alternative?

  1. I have a WDTV that does not play IFO files. So i bought the Fantec.
    But this was a mistake : while it plays IFO, i can not change the subtitle !
    Select a subtitle and the movie restarts. further it often freezes after playing a movie. There is no sync for sub titles. The picture quality seems worse too.
    Pro is that it does not get as hot as the WDTV. But that is about it.
    I wonder who tested this device. The menu is worse then my 10 year old media player. I can not believe that something from this year lacks all the functions one would expect.
    While support reacts in time, it is not clear who is responsible for the firmware updates and if they fix these problems or not. Seems i need to get another device that does work.
    Anybody knows a similar device that works?

  2. Are you sure that 1080p files are working via LAN? I used the LHD with a Linksys WRT54G router and normal network cable (5m). Harddisk is fast enough (Samsung Spinpoint 250GB, 7200rpm). I’ll try it another time this week-end.

  3. Hi, who needs DTS downmixing ? Stereo for Movies is dead and so typical VHS, so if you only can handle stereo get back to the VCR or spend some money on a Surround set. Also I’ve done some testing myself with the Fantec and 1080p via Lan is no problem if (only minimal (almost not noticeable) when the camera moves from left to the right (and vice versa) in a massive scenery (like a scene in a forrest)!!! Most important is use proper Lan cable, use some proper Router/Hub (whatever) and use a fast enough harddisk to read the bitstream, so if it’s no working perfectly it’s propably the connected hardware. The only tiny problem/idea for the fantec would be a somewhat heavier casing and a little bit better quality remote control. I also got the Freecom Mediaplayer II and the remote is great and playback of most of the files is great (not as great as the Fantec), but what a menu, stepping 15 years back in time, but on the other hand it’s got a fast harddisk inside, LAN and USB. And no, I’m not working at Fantec or at any other computer related company.

  4. Hello, i just got one and can confirm dts downsampling is not possible. i called the support and they are researching the problem and the device „should“ have dts downmixing. Perhpas a Firmware upgrade is the solution. we will see.

    Please open a support call/message at to get a little bit of preasure to them.

  5. Thank you for your answer. That’s really sad but I somehow expected it… 😦

    It’s now in stock, I’ll try to get one next week!

  6. It does not support DTS downmixing.. I just tested one. This makes it a lot less interesting product 😦

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